Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1250m)
Thin race augurs well for Newcastle filly and hot favourite 5. Miss Earth who showed enough potential around the metro and provincial scene last winter, but is first-up for nearly a year off two steady trials.
Dangers: Expect big improvement second-up from Tamworth gelding 8. The Star Legend who resumed in a stronger maiden at Muswellbrook. Scone gelding 2. Launch It trialled only fairly, but stable smart at flicking the switch early.
How to play it: Quinella 5 and 8
Race 3 MAIDEN PLATE (1400m)
Seven placings from 14 starts, it’s time for 4YO Dubbo gelding 8. The Exchequer to break through. Has been up for a while, and flew home last start after being ridden much quieter than earlier efforts. Draws to get a nice trail, and form rider sticks.
Dangers: Newcastle 3YO gelding 9. Ultimate Power is getting closer after four runs this prep, and draws an ideal trailing barrier for leading trainer/rider combination. Armidale gelding 2. Cos I’m Goodprogressed nicely in consecutive close-up seconds at Tamworth before finishing down the track in a much stronger maiden at Scone, and back to more suitable company, with the blinkers coming off. The form of 3YO Scone gelding 6. Modern Family is better than is looks on paper, and leading country rider hops aboard, but has a tricky barrier to overcome. Progressive Tamworth filly 12. Kyushu should peak third-up after two solid runs back in decent maiden company.
How to play it: The Exchequer to win and quinella 8 and 9
Race 4 BM 58 HCP (2050m)
Another fairly open tussle, although 3YO Newcastle filly 4. Tessa Burrito can claim a second win in four starts for leading stable. Has been hitting the line hard from well off the pace all prep, and again draws to be tucked away back in the field and produced late.
Dangers: Rival Newcastle mare 3. Princess Pattern has found the line okay in all three runs this prep, and this looks a bit easier.
How to play it: Tessa Burrito to win
Race 5 CL3 HCP (1250m)
Plenty of chances here. Loved the fast-finishing win in a weaker race at Dubbo of internationally bred 5YO Tamworth gelding 4. Rostam, although coming back from the mile, he will get a fair way back and need plenty of speed on up front.
Dangers: Newcastle 3YO gelding 7. General Soho takes on deeper company here, but was very strong late easily winning a CL2 at Dubbo when well backed. Tamworth-trained topweight 1. Alvin Purple has been consistent all year, with his races spaced, and scored a deserved BM 66 win last start, but will need luck from a wide barrier. Include both Tamworth mare 5. Pomme La Belle who draws wide, and Scone mare 6. Daiquiri Lass who will get a nice trail from a good gate, in exotics.
How to play it: Rostam each way, quinella 4 and 7, and first four 4-7/1-4-5-6-7
Race 6 CL1 HCP (1400m)
Wyong 3YO filly 5. Joigny was put away after an impressive debut win early in the year, and returned with a nice closing effort from off the speed at Newcastle. Looks well placed up in trip from the inside draw.
Dangers: Looks the right sort of race and extra trip too for promising 3YO Wyong gelding 2. Sheeran who just missed in a good maiden at Muswellbrook before finishing smartly to break through at the same track. Up in weight, but has quality. Newcastle 3YO gelding 3. Sunny Afternoon will appreciate the extra journey after a nice first-up effort behind a smart galloper; while improving 4YO Tamworth gelding 7. Autumn Ridge has attacked the line nicely in two runs back, and extra trip in his favour as well.
How to play it: Joigny to win and trifecta 2-5/2-3-5-7
Race 7 GUNNEDAH CUP (1600m)
Feature race, and keen on Tamworth 6YO gelding 4. Beauty Best who is screaming to win after just missing in the Tamworth Cup, before edged out by a rank long-shot at Scone over the carnival after being well backed. Drawn nicely and the mile looks ideal.
Dangers: Newcastle 4YO gelding 3. San Francisco went around at a massive price in the Scone Cup, but still worked home okay. Up significantly in weight, this has far less depth. Quirindi gelding 8. Vega De Lago mixes his form, but is down in weight, and if there’s enough speed on from the half mile, he can charge late into the finish.
How to play it: Beauty Best to win
Race 8 LIGHTNING HCP (1000m)
They’ll fly home in this, and keen on Scone 8YO gelding 3. Just A Bullet who produced some nice runs in good short-course company last winter before a long break. Returned with only a fair effort from the front under a big weight at Orange, but trainer quickly sent him back for a strong open trial win. From the draw and with a 2kg claim, he looks hard to stop, and key gear changes have been made.
Dangers: Tamworth 5YO gelding 9. Mr Pumblechook has had two runs back, and always capable in this grade, although looks under the odds. Another Tamworth-trained gelding 6. Sir Donald has had two fair runs back in stronger company, but was only two lengths behind Order Of Command at Flemington in December, and can peak here third-up. Newcastle 7YO gelding 4. Powerline will drift back from a wide gate in his first run for five months, but capable of steaming over the top. Was good in the spring over longer, beaten under two lengths in a BM 78 at Randwick. Port Macquarie 4YO gelding 10. Patriot is a consistent performer around this grade, and looks very well weighted off his recent runs.
How to play it: Just A Bullet each way and box first four 3-4-6-9-10
Race 3: 8. THE EXCHEQUER
Race 7: 4. BEAUTY BEST
Race 5: 4. ROSTAM
Tips supplied by Racing NSW.
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au.